The Illinois Sustainability Awards

Application Narrative

The Narrative is the most important part of your application. It is important that your application be as complete and descriptive as possible. Your organization will be judged on the strength of your application. Identify real numbers and measured results from your efforts when possible.

We would like you to describe your sustainability activities in a way that clearly answers the four following questions:

  1. What did you do?
  2. How did you do it?
  3. Who was involved?
  4. What are the benefits?

Include only information on activities implemented before January 1, 2017.

Please note: If your organization has received a Governor's Sustainability Award, Continuous Improvement Award, or Governor's Pollution Prevention Award in the past, please include only information about activities you have conducted since winning the award. Ongoing achievements and metrics from previously awarded activities are not eligible for the Award and should not be included in the narrative, unless significant improvements or modifications have been implemented and can be clearly described.

Writing the Narrative

Each application must contain the following sections. Details of each are provided in the evaluation criteria.

  • Description of Activities
  • Waste Volume/Emissions Reduction or Natural Resources/Energy Conserved
  • Economic Benefits
  • Employee/Member/Community Involvement and/or Outreach
  • Regulatory Compliance

What did you do?

Describe your activities, including where and when they were accomplished. There are many different types of activities that are eligible for inclusion in this application. The questions below are intended to prompt discussion on a wide variety of sustainability activities. Some of the questions may not apply to your organization.

  • Did you implement sustainable practices or technologies?
    • If so, for what purposes?
  • Did you improve products or processes?
    • If so, how is this better than what existed previously?
  • Did your activity or activities have educational or outreach components?
    • If so, who was the intended audience, and what were the objectives?
  • Did you have a building or energy project?
    • Award will not be granted to applications that only include LEED certification of new buildings or only energy efficiency projects. Additionally, applications that include LEED EB must describe the environmental and energy savings for LEED EB projects. Baseline and savings metrics must be included in the application.
    • Metrics, particularly for energy savings, must be normalized or baseline data must be provided so that we can determine the magnitude of the benefits realized. See the metrics form as a guide.

How did you do it?

Describe why you decided to do these activities and how you went about doing them. Your description can address any of the questions below that are applicable to your organization. Your description may also address issues not listed in the questions below.

  • How did you identify the opportunity?
  • How much did the activities cost?
  • How much effort was required to implement the activities?
  • Was any research, development, pilot testing, or training required?
  • What barriers did you encounter and how did you overcome them?
  • How did you keep the activities on track?
  • What criteria had to be met in order to implement the activities?
  • How was the technology or practice you implemented better than comparable alternatives?
  • How did you evaluate the success of the activities?

Who was involved?

Describe the contributions of your organization's personnel in the activities.

  • Was there input from employees/members in designing and implementing the activities?
  • Were there teams or committees formed for these specific activities, or how did management encourage or engage employee/member participation in these activities?

Describe if any partnerships with external manufacturers, consultants, vendors, schools, community groups, or other organizations were influential during your activities.

What were the benefits?

Describe how your activities benefited the environment, your organization, your local community, and/or the global community. Some of the questions below may not pertain to your organization, and you may want to discuss benefits not addressed in the questions below.

  • What criteria did you use for measuring the environmental, social, and/or economic benefits?
    • How did you measure these benefits? What were the results?
  • What amounts of natural resources (energy, water, raw materials, etc.) were conserved?
  • By how much was solid waste or toxic/hazardous waste or the use of toxic chemicals reduced?
    • Were toxic exposures to workers, customers, your community, or the environment reduced?
  • How much money did your organization save?
  • How did your community benefit from your activities -- such as jobs retained or created, life style improvements for citizens, etc.?
  • What have you done so that others can benefit from your experience and knowledge gained?
  • Have you identified any improvements or organizational changes that could be helpful for these activities, or for similar activities, in the future?

The sample applications page demonstrates how applicants should answer these questions and include metrics in the Narrative.